- Bulk cargoes lead
By Ignatius Chukwu & Sam Esogwa
Port activities have peaked highly in Port Harcourt and this is reflected in surge in revenue. The Customs in the area have declared N18.17Bn against N1323Bn by same quarter in heat of Covid-19 year in 2020.
The Customs Area Controller of the Command, Comptroller Yusuf Garba, who disclosed this via a press statement made available to journalists in Port Harcourt, noted that the figure is against ₦16,180,827,894 and ₦13,237,465,044 recorded in the same period of 2020 and 2019 respectively. He said the revenue collected in the first quarter of 2021 represents an increase of about ₦ 2 billion from that of 2020.
The statement revealed that the Command collected the sum of ₦6,433,037,926.11 in January, ₦5,031,701,309.59 and ₦6,705,858,563.36 in the months of February and March respectively.
In his statement, the Comptroller said the importation of bulk cargoes into the Port was the major source of revenue collection and attributed the increase to the gradual return of port activities, after the disruption caused by the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In highlighting some of the bulk cargoes berthing in the Port to include bulk wheat, frozen fish, oil well supplies, bulk corn amongst others, he added that the Command also generated the sum of ₦1,158,083,726.00 from the payment of excise duties through the International Breweries Limited.
He added that this figure surpasses the ₦ 891,134,979.00 collected from January to March, 2020.
He pointed out that International Passenger Flights is yet resume at the Port Harcourt International Airport.
However, he explained that the Airport only receives the Allied Cargo Airline which mainly imports oil well equipment that are mostly destined for the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) and the Repair and Return of Company equipment which usually attracts the payment of import duty on the value added to the equipment at the point of return.
Speaking further, Comptroller Garba said that the Command has being at the forefront in promoting trade facilitation and anti-smuggling activities by creating an enabling environment for ease of doing business and having regular engagement with stakeholders, especially the Customs Licensed Agents. This, he informed, has proved positive as importers and their agents have been complying with trade guidelines.
In his submission, he stressed that the Command kick started the 2021 fiscal year on a sound footing.
He appreciated the leadership of the ANALCA, NAGAFF, and all other relevant stakeholders and government agencies for their high level of professionalism and cooperation.